In February, Aurora resident Jean Martin became the fourth patient in the U.S. to receive a new MRI-compatible pacemaker called the Revo MRI SureScan.
"It's just put underneath the skin here, and then underneath the collarbone we put two pacemaker wires down into the heart," said Dr. Ryan Aleong, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Hospital. UCH was the first hospital in Colorado, and the region, to offer the MRI-compatible pacemaker.
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The Revo MRI SureScan works like other pacemakers, delivering electrical pulses to make the heart beat in a normal rhythm. But the device has given Martin peace of mind that, despite her pacemaker, she still has access to one of medicine's most powerful diagnostic tools: magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.
"Patients who receive pacemakers oftentimes are older and are at risk for developing conditions where they need MRIs, so I think this is a major step forward," Aleong said. He also explains that older pacemakers could be damaged by the strong magnetic fields and radio frequency pulses of an MRI machine. The Revo MRI SureScan has addressed these issues.
"The pacemaker leads heat the heart muscle less, which is a major problems with MRIs and pacemaker leads. In the pacemaker generator there is less metal, and the pacemaker circuitry has also been changed so that there can be less interference," Aleong said.
It's estimated that as many as 75 percent of pacemaker patients will eventually need an MRI, and more than 200,000 patients in the U.S. are unable to have the scan due to a pacemaker.
While Martin received the new technology due to the probability she'll need an MRI, Aleong believes this type of pacemaker will become the standard of care for all patients.
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